NZi3 is the first dedicated ICT research centre in New Zealand, aiming to be a globally-recognised innovation centre, bridging the gap between academia and industry.
The first five-star Green Star educational building in New Zealand, NZi3's futuristic form was shaped by its use as a hub of entrepreneurially-focused and evolving applied research.
The design brief requested a building that was flexible and adaptable, as well as one that fostered innovation, creativity and communication. These specific requirements are echoed in the design of this purpose-built, two-level building, in its deceptively simple bridge-like structure.
A pair of 72 metre-long steel trusses run the full length of the upper storey, supporting the roof and first floor, and cantilevering in excess of 14m at each end of the building, supported in turn by monolithic concrete walls.
NZi3's striking interior is largely devoid of structure, with a suspended floor system spanning the full area of the building, providing ultimate flexibility for space planning in the future, and encouraging open collaboration and communication.
The 2,400m2 building was designed to be highly energy efficient and incorporates a multitude of green features, including the first commercial use of energy efficient phase-change materials (PCMs), in New Zealand.
3D computer simulation analysis was carried out by Beca to inform and target the design, including mixed mode HVAC operations, natural lighting, façade environmental performance, external solar shading, natural and mechanical ventilation, heat recovery, thermal comfort modelling and annual energy and water use. Beca also assisted with the co-ordination of the site-wide infrastructure and reticulation to the building.
Partnership was the key to success of this unique structure, NZi3's iconic shape and key features being achieved through close collaboration from with the client and architects Warren & Mahoney. The NZi3 building was one of five New Zealand projects to make the finals of the World Architecture Awards in 2009.